Australia on my mind, again

Old Jul 23rd, 2022, 07:52 AM
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Australia on my mind, again

I'm considering a return visit to Australia, my first since COVID, in late-November, early-December. This would be my seventh visit. As such, we're already visited most of the common tourist destinations, some more than once. And given the time of year, I expect it to be wet and hot in some parts. I'm calling on my Aussie friends on possible suggestions for this time of year. I will likely spend a week in Sydney and then hope to get out into the outdoors for another two weeks. I don't need need places to be near Sydney; flying to reach places is fine. Thank you.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2022, 02:36 PM
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Well it will be too late for the WA wildflower season and probably too wet in NT and Queensland, so that leaves the southern states and NSW. Tasmania should be lovely at that time of the year, as should Victoria. Are you considering a driving holiday? You could have a few nights in Canberra and then follow the coast to Melbourne and possibly take the ferry to Tasmania. Another suggestion would be Canberra, Albury and then follow the Murray into Adelaide and then take the Great Ocean Road to Melbourne. Lots of nice places to visit and the weather should be nice to you in those areas.
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Old Jul 24th, 2022, 02:55 PM
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Hello Tripplanner 001,
Lovely to see you're coming back to see us again! Late November/early December is a great time to visit; Summer's on the cusp and you'll miss the school holidays.

I've been thinking about this and some interesting places come to mind. If I recall correctly, you don't drive, but it should be possible to make a base in these areas and find local tour operators/ other means of getting around. As you will know by now, the local Information Centres in Australian towns are usually goldmines of helpful information. As are the Publicans of local pubs.

One of my friends doesn’t drive either and she has seen more “off the beaten track” places in 14 or 15 trips from Scotland to Australia than a lot of locals. Takes planning, lateral thinking and often $, but it can be done.

NSW South Coast - https://www.visitnsw.com/southcoast/nsw - There's plenty to see and do, including some excellent wineries & restaurants, small towns, bush walking, Indigenous history and of course the stunning South Coast beaches. Berry might make a good base, but so might smaller towns like Milton or further down Merimbula or Pambula.

Getting there: I googled "trains NSW South Coast" and it seems there are stations at Kiama, Berry, Gerringong and other places. https://transportnsw.info/routes/det...ains/sco/02SCO

You could also fly into Morouya (MYA) or Merimbula with Rex airlines. www.rex.com.au

NSW Central West – Orange area https://www.visitnsw.com/destination...sw/orange-area

This is a fabulous area. Rich in history; gold, grazing, farming – all of which are also current industries, charming & interesting small towns; some of the best food and wine in the country.

I like it all and have stayed in Canowindra, Carcoar and Orange.

There’s a local Limo operator who does day tours and from what I’ve read is very flexible. I think it’s SR Limousines Australia http://www.srlimousines.com.au/ I will check & confirm that.

From Sydney, you could easily take the train to Orange, or fly.

Victoria – Daylesford area – www.visitmelbourne.com - Have a look in the “Regions” section. “Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges.

Victoria – Echuca Moama: www.echucamoama.comOn the mighty Murry River. I’m putting this in because I’ve only been there once and want to go back to explore some more. So, I’ll be researching for us both!

Victoria – The Grampians – https://www.visitgrampians.com.auAs with Echuca, I’m planning a re-visit here, too.

That’s a start. Let us know if you’ve acquired a driver & that might expand on what we would suggest.

Have fun planning!
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Old Jul 25th, 2022, 02:04 AM
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It depends on what your interests are. Do you like the beach or wineries or art galleries or hiking, etc etc? Also if you don't mind the heat you'll be fine as most places will be warm to hot or humid/hot/wet up north. Tasmania will be the coolest (temperature I mean) place as it's furthest south. I would suggest concentrating on the southern half of Australia, due to the weather, but that leaves an enormous area. Have you got some ideas, maybe based on what you've done before?
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Old Jul 25th, 2022, 05:47 AM
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Have you visited WA and SA on your previous visits? LOADS to do in both.
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Old Jul 25th, 2022, 05:02 PM
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Thanks everyone. You are a wealth of information as always.

As Bokhara2 recalls, we are non-drivers although we are not shy about hiring drivers for a day or for several days.

In terms of our interests, good food, wine, city life, beautiful coasts, loads of hiking, wildlife, and just relaxing with coffee and chocolate. We usually try to cram in a lot on our trips but just enjoy being in Australia. In many ways, it feels like home to us.

Marg, we have not returned to Canberra since our first visit to Australia in 2006 but recall liking it very much. The city is a good size and very pleasant for strolling. I’m into politics so there is a lot to keep me busy.

We’ve enjoyed our visits to Melbourne each time we’re there but have not ventured much outside other than day trips. Leisurely walks along the Great Ocean Road, being among the rock formations, and getting up close with the koalas would be heaven - is the area made for extended walks? Instead of driving from point to point with short walks in between, could we travel by public transport or be driven and be dropped off for extended stretches? I’ve previously looked at the Great Ocean Ecolodge and basing there but it seems it is closed at the moment.

Tasmania is pure joy for us. We absolutely loved our time in Hobart and could have stayed longer. Cradle Mountain was perfect for our hiking fix, and we saw animals too. We’ve heard good things about the east coast, which we haven’t done. And there’s King Island, for the cheese and the seafood. I haven’t looked much into what is operating these days given COVID.

Bokhara2, your suggestions, especially for NSW, give us much food for thought. I recall doing some research into Orange and liking what I came across. Will take another look and go back to some of my notes from ago, including what you’ve shared with me previously.

Will look into Murray River and the Grampians too.

KayF, you probably feel some of my enthusiasm for Australia come through. We include Sydney on each of our visits as it is our favorite place in the world, bar none, but we’ve made awesome memories in Tasmania, on Kangaroo Island, along the Great Ocean Road, at Uluru and even more so Kata Tjuta. Sydney aside, for cities we like Melbourne and Brisbane but also Hobart, Canberra, Noosa, Fremantle. I prefer cooler temperatures, or at least not humid if hot, which at the time of year takes out parts of the continent. Although I’ve wished it were cooler in Sydney on different trips too.

Melnq8, Kangaroo Island is an all-time favorite although we think we would be too heartbroken to see it now so soon after the devastating wildfires of 2019. While Perth does not rank as high as the east coast cities for us, we didn’t not like it. And we’ve thought about venturing southwest. The Kimberley are also high on our list, but we’re thinking we’re better off saving it for a May or July trip.

Lots of thinking to do and you’ve helped plenty. We would want to see the COVID rates come down a bit to feel comfortable but it will only be a question of when not if we go.
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Old Jul 26th, 2022, 02:35 AM
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Hi again TP

"We’ve enjoyed our visits to Melbourne each time we’re there but have not ventured much outside other than day trips. Leisurely walks along the Great Ocean Road, being among the rock formations, and getting up close with the koalas would be heaven - is the area made for extended walks? Instead of driving from point to point with short walks in between, could we travel by public transport or be driven and be dropped off for extended stretches? I’ve previously looked at the Great Ocean Ecolodge and basing there but it seems it is closed at the moment."

My Scottish friend, who is lining up for her 14th or 15th visit to Australia just now, also does not drive. She, like you, has seen more of Australia than many locals. I remember she did a private tour of a few days (perhaps 3?) along the Great Ocean Road just ... perhaps 3/4 years ago. I will ask her for the Contact Details for you. If you hop over to Trip Advisor, you will see her - AmoMondo.

For walks along the Great Ocean Road & many other areas in Australia, you might contact Lyn Taylor at https://www.tayloradventure.com
Lyn specialises in putting small group, special interest trips together involving walking/trekking/hiking & will work with you to craft something that ticks all your boxes. I've known her for nearly 20 years, have trekked with her in Nepal & will do some here & in Spain when I can free up some time.. She's taken groups along the GOR, through the Warrumbungles at Coonabarabran (earlier this year I think) - you name it here or overseas, she's probably taken a group walking there. Give her a call or drop her an email. She is a really good source of information & a valuable contact for your "little black book." She lives in Sydney, so is a good source of info for walks there, too. Disclaimer: We're friends - but that's not why I'm recommending her. That's because I don't know anyone else who does what she does and does it so well.

Looping: In Sydney, you could take the B2 bus from Wynyard to Narrabeen, get off at the Tramshed, just before the bridge. The Narrabeen Lagoon is a lovely 9km circular walk, It's well signposted and there's plenty of nice spots for a dip if you take your swimmers. If you wanted to take a picnic, there is a Woolworths diagonally across the road from the Bus stop, and small selection of shops & cafes close by. There was a very good Japanese restaurant on the opposite side of the road too. I'll check if it's still open when I'm there next month.

Have you done the Spit to Manly walk? The Rose Bay to Watsons Bay walk? The zoo to Balmoral? You probably have!


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Old Jul 26th, 2022, 04:34 AM
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And we’ve thought about venturing southwest.

This. The real gems of WA are along the SW coast.

https://www.australiassouthwest.com/

And there's a whole lot more to SA than Kangaroo Island. My favorite site for researching SA - broken down by regions which helps tremendously.

https://southaustralia.com/

Good luck with your planning.
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Old Jul 26th, 2022, 06:32 AM
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Thanks again.

Bokhara2, yes, I've done all the Sydney harborside walks you've mentioned. The Spit to Manly walk is an all-time favorite, as I know with even a lot of Sydneysiders. We've also done Zoo to Balmoral. And yes, we've done Rose Bay to Watson's Bay (awesome fish and chips at Doyle's) and actually ventured from there all the way to Bondi; it was a long but varied walk. Another we've enjoyed is from the Zoo over to Blues Point. Will look into Narrabeen Lagoon and check out Lyn's website; thank you.

Melnq8, thank you. Other than Kangaroo Island, we've also visited Adelaide and the Barossa Valley, both of which were okay. Do you have any SA favorites?
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Old Jul 26th, 2022, 03:27 PM
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As for SA...lots of options. A few ideas here:

So much good wine, so little time; South Australia's Limestone Coast

Eating our way across South Australia
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Old Jul 27th, 2022, 03:57 PM
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Thanks so much, Mel. Just read your 2009 trip report and will take a look at the one from 2014 during one of my commutes. Sounds like you had a better time in the Barossa than I did. I've had curiosities about Coober Pedy but your report sparked an interest - it may be on the hotter side in November / December though.
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Old Jul 27th, 2022, 03:59 PM
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I wouldn't go near Coober Pedy in Nov and December, but I'm very much a hot weather and black fly wimp.
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Old Jul 27th, 2022, 06:24 PM
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Black fly? No thanks. I'm with you on that, Mel.

As an aside, was just looking at Lord Howe Island and getting excited (judging from the photographs, it's gorgeous) but had my bubble quickly burst learning that there is no cell or Internet service there.
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Old Jul 27th, 2022, 08:56 PM
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<<There was a very good Japanese restaurant on the opposite side of the road too. I'll check if it's still open when I'm there next month.>>

Bokhara, if you are talking about Izakaya Nara, I can confirm it is open as I was there last Friday, we all had the very filling Bento box with garlic wagyu beef, excellent food and run by a Japanese family which is quite rare these days
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Old Jul 27th, 2022, 10:50 PM
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Oh Geordie, I am - thanks so much, you've made my day! They are lovely people and it was a favourite of mine when I lived just down the road in Collaroy.
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Old Jul 28th, 2022, 02:19 AM
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Aanchalkaushik - You have piggy-backed onto Tripplanner01's thread.

Please start your own with whatever queries you may have. Continuing on someone else's thread disrupts the information they are getting and will simply confuse the issue.

To start your own thread/topic, click on your name and Post a new Topic under Australia - South Australia.
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Old Aug 4th, 2022, 09:51 PM
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Woh you really have seen more than most.......unfortunately our Covid years trips have been mostly North and North West.......not ideal for that time of year. We love the coastline north and south NSW. Mollymook 3hrs south of Sydney and Byron Bay about 8 hours north (may be too far North for you but shouldn't be too hot) come to mind.

We had a lovely splurge visit to Bannister's at Mollymook, worth it if you are a seafood and\or Rick Stein fan. https://www.bannisters.com.au/mollymook/
We often head to Byron Bay at that time of year, its certainly markedly cooler than Brisbane. You can fly into Ballina from Sydney in just over an hour and its about a 30minute transfer to Byron. Theres lots of accommodation options there, some of them are really special. And some great eating option and of course, these days star spotting.

We have recently returned from a trip to Ulura via Broken Hill and Coober Peedy, I too wouldn't go anywhere near there at that time of year. But it was a fabulous trip. We are heading to the Margaret River wine region in Western Australia at Christmas and am assured it will be 'warm/hot' but should be much nicer than Brisbane at Christmas.

Hope this helps.

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Old Aug 5th, 2022, 04:08 PM
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Thanks Aussiedreamer. I will look into Byron Bay. Do you know how it compares to Noosa? I've previously done research into Byron Bay and found some similarities; we enjoyed our time in Noosa.

Love seafood and a fan of Rick Stein. I happen to think Australia and NZ have the best tasting seafood in the world.
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Old Aug 6th, 2022, 12:35 AM
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Mmm that’s a tricky one, we’ve just had a debate on how to compare the two. The best we can come up with is Noosa probably has a classier vibe?? Byron ‘was’ a real surfer/alternative town, very ‘chilled’. But in recent years has become very popular with ‘Hollywood’ big names. But we love it, some great eating places and some very swank accommodations but also great family vibe too.

I’ve probably confused you even more.
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Old Aug 6th, 2022, 06:19 AM
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Sure, it's confusing, but insightful at the same time. It tells me that there may be some similarities if not too much but that we will probably like it. I just wish that some of the places are easier strung together. In NSW, we're looking at Orange, Hunter Valley, Byron Bay, and perhaps some of the Blue Mountains further afield from Leura and Katoomba. Also perusing the Great Ocean Road, Grampians, Freycinet, and King Island. Not planning on doing it all, but making a list and narrowing it down. We would probably end up with 2 or 3 of these.
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